Chandos Road: Time to go for a continental vibe?

People living and working around Chandos Road in Redland will this year be given the chance to shape a new street layout to make it more pedestrian friendly.

But it is not yet clear whether cars would be completely banned – or if less drastic traffic calming could be considered instead.

Bristol City Council announced it wants to close the road to traffic, following a decision to make permanent car bans on nearby Cotham Hill, Redland, and Princess Victoria Street, in Clifton Village.

That’s led to claims that some traders are concerned about the impact on their businesses. 

But Chandos Neighbourhood Association says it has been talking to the council since 2020 about ideas such as traffic calming and tree planters,  street art and bike racks.

Member Jane Valentine said these proposals have been supported by traders and residents in surveys and open days.

She said: “We’re delighted the council has approached the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) for funding to support improvements to the area and we will be encouraging residents and traders alike to share their views throughout the consultation process so that together we can design a positive solution for the whole community.”

However Bristol City Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Don Alexander said the council wants to ban all cars from Chandos Road.

In a statement he said: “Closing the road to traffic will create more space for high street traders, which will particularly benefit cafes, pubs, and restaurants who can apply for permission to install outdoor seating. 

“In addition to this, the closure of the road to traffic will create an active travel route by freeing up space for cyclists and pedestrians.”

He said it would allow cafes, pubs, and restaurants to apply for permission to install outdoor seating.

The proposal is due to go out to public consultation early this year, once it has been signed off by WECA.

The Voice approached more than a dozen traders in Chandos Road for their reaction.

 Emma Wreyford of Chandos Atelier art project said she was in favour of at least partial pedestrianisation.

She said: “As a ‘destination street’ I think we could make much more of the space – seating, bike racks, trees, markets even – plus attract foot and bike traffic to the street, customers who have been proven to stay and spend.

“The 40 people who park their car here during a day could leave space for 400 (or more as our annual street party shows) to spend time and money, enjoying a safe, welcoming, lucrative environment.”

Monica Worsley, co-owner of Picaro tapas bar, said banning cars would introduce a continental feel.

She said: “It would be fantastic if the Council granted Chandos Road what they have to Cotham Hill. It has made such a difference to the small restaurants in the street. 

“Picaro would have at least 15/20 extra sitting outside on the pavement. Our premises are small and that would give us much needed extra revenue. Last September when we had the street party we put tables and parasols outside and the street look so lovely with no cars.”

But Faye, who works in Clifton Flowers was concerned that banning vehicles could affect deliveries to businesses, and deliveries going out.  

She said: “The street is so quiet anyway so I don’t see why they need to do it. Sometimes you don’t see anyone passing the door, not even on a Saturday.”

She said the council should consider ways to provide extra parking, or consider a night time only pedestrianisation when restaurants are busier.

 “It would be nice for the restaurants to expand out onto the street in the summer but we need access in the daytime because all the streets off Chandos Road are so narrow and it’s already difficult to park around here.

One business owner, who asked not to be named, said while they could see some benefits, they felt it could damage trade by discouraging people from travelling to the area by car.

Whatever their views, residents and traders are being urged to take part in the consultation when it formally opens.

Details of the council’s plans to get rid of cars from Chandos Road are due to be revealed soon